The Xmas craft fair is back in town. The German stalls are nearest my work, set up around the huge stone base of the Scott Monument with the aroma of fresh waffles and Gluhwein permeating the frigid air; bright lights and music dispel the winter darkness. More craft stalls and small booths along the rest of the West Princes Street Gardens, including the wonderful Cheese From Scotland, back once again. Down in the valley of the Gardens, between Old and New Towns the Winter Wonderland is out for the kids, with rides, booths and the open-air ice rink. In the East Gardens the roustabouts are busy setting up the Big Top for the circus, right below the Castle. The huge pine tree is up on the Mound and the lovely, plain white lights outline the stark, bare branches of the Gardens’ winter trees. You can see your breath misting in front of your face and there is that wonderful feeling of tautness across your cheeks from the chill air as you snuggle into your warm, winter coat.

It’s a joyful experience to wander here in the deep, dark night of the Scottish winter (this picture was taken at 4pm, to give you an idea of just how dark it gets and how early here; perhaps 4 or 5 hours of proper daylight, less if it is overcast – great for us Gothic vampish types! You can just see the last fading light to the West) – little oasis of warmth, light and life. It’s even better when you’re walking it with your parents (who have earlier treated their wee boy to lunch). And so home, feeling happy and with a bag full of mature cheese from Arran 🙂